Archive for July 20th, 2011

The political impact of Bersih 2.0

By Johan Saravanamuttu
Free Malaysia Today
July 20, 2011

The BN is still haemorrhaging from the Sarawak state election of April 16, where it lost the urban vote. Bersih 2.0 shows a continuing slide.


The repercussions of Bersih 2.0 will no doubt be profound. It has already been dubbed as Malaysia’s “Hibiscus Revolution”. The question that is now uppermost in the public imagination is whether the current government will also suffer a severe blow for its inept handling of the event.

Bersih started out in 2006 as a movement of civil society forces and political parties calling for clean and fair elections. Its demands for cleaning up the electoral rolls, reviewing postal votes, including allowing for voting from abroad, fair access to the media, the elimination of corrupt practices are nothing radical or revolutionary and yet the government’s resistance to it has allowed the opposition parties and those not in support of the present government to easily latch on to a ready-made platform for galvanising support.

Bersih’s first political rally on Nov 10, 2007 saw some 40,000 Malaysian streaming into the heart of Kuala Lumpur, setting a benchmark for peaceful political protest in Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »


Scorpene subs: The French edge closer to Najib

John Berthelsen
Jul 20, 11

The noose could be tightening on one of Malaysia’s greatest military procurement scandals, the US$1 billion purchase of French-built Scorpene submarines, commissioned by then-Defence Minister Najib Abdul Razak in 2002.

The latest developments come at a time when Najib, as prime minister, toured Europe, meeting with Queen Elizabeth and Pope Benedict XVI in an effort to repair an image battered by an ugly crackdown on July 9 against tens of thousands of protesters asking for reforms of Malaysia’s electoral system, which is regarded as rigged to keep the ruling national coalition in power.

The scandal allegedly involves French politicians, the giant state-owned defence contractor DCNS and politicians and military procurement units across the world.

The scandal netted a company owned by Najib’s close friend, Abdul Razak Baginda, €114 million in “commissions”, according to testimony in Malaysia’s Parliament. Some of the money is rumoured to have been kicked back to French and Malaysian politicians. Read the rest of this entry »


Najib, the Queen and the Pope

By Luke Hunt
The Diplomat
July 19, 2011

Marrying the demands of international diplomacy with the political realities of home is a tough ask for most countries and their foreign ministries. The two can be a difficult fit, as Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has found out all too well.

Some back home seem determined to provide an unwanted backdrop for his whistle-stop European tour designed to shore-up his country’s vastly improving relations with the West and bring in some much needed foreign investment.

However, echoes of the Bersih movement and their demands for electoral reform have dogged Najib and his entourage from London to Rome, while the prime minister’s own supporters have provided the nastiest thorn in his political side with wild and unsubstantiated claims of unwanted foreign meddling in domestic affairs. Read the rest of this entry »


Bersih rally was 1Malaysia in action

Yin Ee Kiong | Jul 20, 11


There’s light at the end of the tunnel and it is not from an on-coming train.

Malaysians are slowly but surely emerging from the dark hole that we have been in for well over 40 years. I am once again confident of our country’s future; recent events have convinced me of this.

I would be the first to admit that I have often doubted the resolve of Malaysians in the face of repression and abuse of power by its authorities. I look at Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, even Myanmar, and wonder at the courage of their citizens who fight for change against almost insurmountable odds.

Then I look at ourselves and wonder why we seem so useless. Or perhaps we are not really useless – perhaps we are just a little more patient. However, 40 years of abuse of power will wear away even the patience of a saint. On July 9, that patience evaporated. Read the rest of this entry »


Utusan hitting the streets with blacked-ou​t headlines, blotches of black and full pages in black if it gets “Economist​” treatment from Home Ministry

The UMNO official organ, Utusan Malaysia, will be hitting the newsstands every day with blacked-out headlines in front or inside pages, blotches of black or even full pages in black if it is given the Economist treatment by Home Ministry “censoring incorrect and misleading information”.

And what a sight it would be!

This is because no other mainstream media in Malaysia could compete with Utusan for the tonnage of garbage, lies and falsehoods it purveys everyday!

It would undoubtedly make Utusan Malaysia the only one newspaper of its kind in the world as to justify to get into both the Guinness and Malaysia Books of Records! Read the rest of this entry »


Najib, ministers to distribute flags for Merdeka month

Malaysiakini | Jul 20, 11

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, his deputy Muhyiddin Yassin and cabinet ministers will distribute Jalur Gemilang to the public in conjunction with the upcoming independence month celebration.

Information Communication and Culture Minister Rais Yatim said the flag distribution would be carried out at KL Sentral after the weekly cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

“The prime minister and cabinet ministers will take a ride on the ERL from here to KL Sentral,” he told reporters in Putrajaya.

Earlier, Rais accompanied Muhyiddin who were shown the batik shirt to be worn by cabinet ministers at the launch of the flag-raising campaign.
Read the rest of this entry »


Auntie Bersih spooked by Facebook attention

Kow Gah Chie | Jul 20, 11

Eleven days after inspiring netizens for her heroic role in the Bersih 2.0 rally, Auntie Anne Ooi has gone into hiding.

Ooi, 65, said she is stunned by the attention she has received on the Facebook page set up for her, which has gained more than 40,000 ‘likes’ to date.

She has been praised as the ‘Malaysian Lady of Liberty’ and held up as an icon of the Bersih 2.0 cause for clean and fair elections.

For a retired teacher who has led a simple life and who has no knowledge of social media, the intense attention has come as a culture shock.
Read the rest of this entry »


Putrajaya, the days of censorship are over

Malaysiakini Your Say | Jul 20, 11

‘Is this where our indelible ink from March 2008 went, to black out a report on clean elections rally? Shameful and pathetic.’

Economist report on Bersih rally ‘censored’

Lynn: Other than the obvious stupidity of blatant censoring, this also shows how bloated the civil service is – to have people on payroll sitting around manually blacking out thousands of copies of The Economist. What a waste of time and typical of the inefficiencies of our government today.

Jaguh: These cowardly acts indicate shallow thinking. Whoever suggested it has no brains. There is the Internet. This really reflects on the whole cabinet (they all should be in a ‘cabinet’) and frankly, compared to other countries, they have no class, no standards and no morals. A change is imminent.
Read the rest of this entry »


Bersih rally sounds death knell of tyranny

It seems to me the recent Bersih rally could have sounded the death knell of tyranny and overnight Ambiga has become the people’s iconic hero for electoral reform

By N H Chan

The picture on the front page of the Sunday Star, 10 July 2011 spoke louder than words. It showed the huge crowd of peaceful but bold Bersih supporters flying in the face of the cowardly might of the police who were decked out in full riot paraphernalia. They must be daunted by the sea of placid, mostly young, people facing them.

Those in the front rows were seated on the road and those at the back were standing. All were unarmed and none were menacing the police. They were all peaceful demonstrators who were trying to put across to the imbeciles in power the people’s right to peaceful assembly and to show that they were united in their call for a clean and incorrupt general election. Read the rest of this entry »